The Tribune Democrat, Johnstown, PA

Breaking News

Michele Bender

July 31, 2010

Pizza races on hot days

JOHNSTOWN — Remember this time last year? Folks referred to it as “the summer that wasn’t.”

Most days, the mercury struggled to reach the low 70s. Only about five days saw 80 degrees.

I wrote a column sympathizing with backyard swimming pool owners. Cool summers bring only pool maintenance chores with no gratification.

Heat and humidity don’t bother me. I’ve long suspected that I was a lizard in a previous life. I could sprawl out on a rock and bask happily in the sunshine all day.

While this season has been challenging for me in other ways, I’ve been delighted with the hot weather.

We got our backyard pool in the mid-1980s. I excitedly shopped for towels and pool toys.

Retired gentlemen in our neighborhood supervised the installation, while the neighbors’ children charted progress through the fence.

Pool parties became a weekend staple, mixing relations, friends and neighbors.

At one of our first “beach parties,” a neighbor’s preschooler scurried up the ladder, walked out and crouched in the grass briefly, then scampered back into the water.

“Honey, what did you do?” asked her mom, incredulously – although what she’d done was pretty apparent.

“Mom,” the girl explained patiently, “you said, ‘Whatever you do, don't go in the pool!’ ”

When the grownups gathered for raucous volleyball games, the smallest tykes felt left out.

We placed the little ones on rafts to serve as floating “nets.”

The “nets” could participate, provided they didn’t fall off their rafts, and their rulings were final.

Hubby enjoyed barbecuing, but we felt uneasy grilling near the rambunctious children.

The solution? Pool ’n’ pizza days.

Pizza appeals to the young and old, presents no cooking hazard and is easy to clean up.

Neighbors almost always brought their cordless phones along to our deck. That gave us another idea for more grown-up foolishness, and we invented “pizza races.”

Three neighbors, all armed with order lists, dialed the big three pizza sources simultaneously. All three were located in the same area.

Then, we’d bet on which delivery would arrive first. Those who picked the winner split the pot.

Some adults are easily entertained.

Want to get the kids out of the pool quickly? Holler: “Pizza’s here!” Works every time.

This year, I’m reliving pool memories.

I’m also treasuring every minute of this toasty, roasty summer. I know we’ll be wishing for some 80-degree temperatures come January.

Michele Mikesic Bender is a Johnstown resident and a member of The Tribune-Democrat’s Reader Advisory Committee.

1
Text Only | Photo Reprints
Michele Bender
  • Michele Bender MICHELE M. BENDER | Scenic road to recovery

    I thought this busy summer wore me out.
    Father’s Day afternoon I flopped in my recliner and forced myself to do some bookkeeping. I licked an envelope and gasped. No spit, only blood ... as if Hannibal Lecter just served me lunch.

    July 27, 2014 1 Photo

  • Michele Bender Licorice lends a paw

    I bet you expected to find Michele Bender’s column here today.
    She just came home from the hospital. She’s doing fine but resting, so I thought I’d lend a paw.

    June 28, 2014 1 Photo

  • Michele Bender MICHELE M. BENDER | Time to can clutter

    I’m “downsizing.” Sixteen years ago, this house was perfect for me. I gave parties. Friends came and stayed for weekends. Great insulation protected visitors from highway noise.
    Yep, I had the time of my life.
    But I’m 16 years older, and my friends are, too.  They no longer travel like they did. Parties wear us out by 10 p.m.

    June 14, 2014 1 Photo

  • Bender_Michele Those oldies, but goodies

    Twice yearly Hollywood marches out a platoon of war movies.

    May 31, 2014 1 Photo

  • Michele Bender Living life out loud

    “If I make it to Medicare,” I declared, “I’m going to throw a party people will not forget! It’ll be something no one’s ever done!”
    Well, I made it to 65.

    May 17, 2014 1 Photo

  • Watch the stars come out

    Every spring, I catch drive-in movie fever. We are blessed to have three outdoor theaters in a 30-mile radius. Movies under the stars … heavenly!

    May 3, 2014

  • Michele Bender Bye, bye, Easter birdies

    Animals fascinated my mom. Riding the train between Johnstown and Philly, she saw horses, pigs, sheep, cows … a Mattel See ’n Say of farm critters.

    April 19, 2014 1 Photo

  • Bender_Michele.JPG MICHELE M. BENDER | Whisper sweet nothings in my ear

    “Your call is very important to us,” growled the crabby lady at the utility company. “Please wait for the next available representative.”

    April 5, 2014 1 Photo

  • Bender_Michele MICHELE M. BENDER | Sock it to me

       

    March 22, 2014 1 Photo

  • Bender_Michele.JPG MICHELE M. BENDER | What happened to Christmas?

    Headaches rarely bother me. I always felt sorry for folks trapped in the Advil/Dristan web.
    I woke up at 4 a.m. Dec 17 with a headache that probably registered on a Richter scale. (People in New Zealand experienced aftershocks.)

    March 8, 2014 1 Photo

Poll

Do you think pet obituaries should be included with death notices?

Yes, my pet is considered a member of the family.
No, pet obituaries are inappropriate.
Pet obituaries should be placed on a different page in the newspaper.
     View Results
Order Photos


Photo Slideshow

House Ads